“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
–Song of Songs 6:3 NIV
This morning didn’t begin very well. It didn’t get better as the day progressed either. In fact, it got worse. You know what it’s like…as if the relevant parts of your world decide to be difficult all at the same time.
Like the Psalmist, I call to mind the truth I know. God goes with me into all my days. He will not abandon me today when I’m not, shall we say, “at my best.” He knows what He’s doing and where all this is going. He is merciful, endlessly patient and forgiving. He knows my name.
Taking a deep breath, I probe my heart with inward eyes. Do I sense His presence? Yes, I do. But I have to fight the sense that these God qualities are separate facets suspended in the air around me. Available. Wonderful. Comforting. But outside of me. The temptation is to see them as available to me, but not specifically for me.
Then I remember that my very being in Christ begins with His tender gaze resting on me. Everything originates there. As His eyes rove to and fro throughout the earth, they rest on me and remain. He turns toward me and shows me His hands. When I don’t turn away, He walks to me, all the while holding my gaze. What warmth and tenderness pour from him, onto me.
Like Peter, when He stepped out of the boat and onto the raging sea, I hold the gaze of Jesus, seeing such welcome, such understanding, and such pleasure. In that moment I’m deaf and blind to the crashing realities around me, held instead in unimaginable peace and transformation as His gaze enables the impossible. But I get distracted and distressed. The smashing waves and beating wind tear my gaze from His. Gripped by the danger, I cry out, believing in that second that all is lost, I am alone.
“And immediately, Jesus put out His hand.” His scarred hand. “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (Matthew 14:31 MSG). The warmth in His gaze never falters, even when the questions probe. I breathe deeply, still receiving the fullness of His gaze. I realize His scarred hand still holds mine. All those God qualities suspended in the air around me, alive in His gaze. Like the air I’m breathing…air I take in, but never keep, air that’s always available. His presence becomes so much a part of me that I don’t know where He begins and I end.
My heart settles. The winds and waves of my day take their proper place. I walk forward into the storm, breathing Him in, His hand holding mine. For back in that originating place where all my questions are birthed, I’m reminded that “I am my beloved’s and He is mine.”
ACTION: Do you sense God’s loving gaze on you today? If you were to describe the way God is looking at you right now, what would you say? How would you like to interact with Him on this?